I think this was the third SigneT Open to be run at AQSC. The three qualifying races
were run alongside our normal Sunday racing with the SigneT results being extracted
from the overall placings.
Three visitor dinghies joined three AQSC SigneT’s for this the penultimate open of
the year. The last will be at Ferry Meadows later this month.
AQSC boats included ST858 (The Saint) helmed by Roy Melsom and crewed by Madeline
Hatton, ST368 (June) helmed by Richard Cannon and crewed by Rob Britton and ST369
(Over Easy) helmed by Mike Baker and crewed by Keith Hatton.
The visitor boats were ST192 helmed by Simon Mann and crewed by Stephen Whiteside,
ST914 Helmed by Pat Overs and crewed by Johnathan Leeding and ST690 helmed by Lizzie
Overs and crewed by Hanna Whiteside.
The weather was a mixture of sun and cloud with the wind from the West at typically
3 occasionally gusting 4. The OOD was Nigel Knowles, AOD was Anne Bond and patrol
boat was Pete Carpenter. The course was an upstream start to the Port upstream windward
mark then a long run, with or without spinnaker, to the Port downstream mark then
back up to a Port and Stbd dog leg set across the river at 25 yards downstream of
the start line. Virtually the entire course was visible from the club’s patio which
was appreciated by the ‘non sailing’ contingent made up of both SigneT and AQSC folks.
Richard Cannon gave the briefing just prior to the first race stressing, to the visitors,
some of the peculiarities of sailing on the river; the amount of non-sailing traffic
being of particular concern for those not used to it. He also explained that AQSC
boats would also be competing over the same course with the same start.
Race 1 - Started at 11:30 and ST368, ST858 and ST369 quickly established a significant
lead over the other boats. Indeed by the end of the race, an hour later, some had
been lapped by the leading dinghies. The finishing order was ST368, St858, ST369,
ST914, ST192 and ST690
A lunch BBQ was well underway by the time the crews came ashore provided by Nigel,
Pat Shore and Liz Archer. Pete opened up the bar and there was quite a bit of discussion
on how river sailing differed from our visitors usual venues.
Race 2 – Started at 13:30 and was a virtual re-run of Race 1 with the addition of
a ST690 capsize. The finishing order was ST368, ST858, ST369, ST914, ST192 and ST690
Race 3 – Started at 15:15 but this time Simon Mann in ST192 had a good start and
was first around the windward mark. Gradually however Richard Cannon in ST368 and
Roy Melsom in ST858 had overhauled him by lap two; then started a battle royal between
Simon in ST192 and yours truly in ST369. Over several laps the boats were never more
than a few yards apart.
The lead between these two changed hands several times but was finally sorted when
the boats came together on opposite tacks right in front of the clubhouse. Simon
called Starboard and ST369 failed to turn fast enough. The two boats were locked
together for a moment before ST192 managed to brake free. ST369 executed the required
two turned penalty and set off in pursuit.
Meanwhile ST690 capsized yet again as the result of a violent gybe. At the final
mark ST192 and ST369 were neck and neck but as they approached the line ST192 had
established a boat lengths lead which was all he needed to take third place. It was
a great sail and enjoyed by both crews. The finishing order was ST368, ST858, ST192,
ST369, ST690 and ST914
Tea and cakes were served after the last race and while the visitors started to pack-up
Richard and Liz worked out the final results. The prize giving was held on the patio.
Nigel Knowles (AQSC Commodore) thanked everybody for coming and invited Richard to
announce the results which were as follows:-
6th ST690 Welsh Lady Paxton Lakes SC 11 pts.
5th ST914 Plop Paxton Lakes SC 8 pts.
4th ST192 Bobbadee Royal Eng YC 8 pts.
3rd ST369 Over Easy Aquarius SC 6 pts.
2nd ST858 The Saint Aquarius SC 4 pts.
1st ST368 June Aquarius SC 2 pts.
Congratulations to Richard and Rob who won all three races and the Hawker Hunter
Aileron Bracket (a throwback to Hawker SC days) which was presented by AQSC Presidents
wife Joan Bray.
Before everybody drifted away Pat reminded the ‘SigneT’s’ that the last open of the
year would be on 16 September at Ferry Meadows preceded by a committee meeting, the
afternoon before, at Chez Overs.
I thought the day was a great success. Past opens at AQSC have been blighted by indifferent
conditions to the point where Richard and I were quite concerned about even holding
the event on our patch. We needn’t have worried, it was as near perfect as you can
get for sailing on the river and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves, which, at
the end of the day is what it’s all about.